After the two month shut down that came earlier this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic reaching U.S. soil, Ford and General Motors have devised a plan to make up for that lost production time. For the employees working in these factories, that means there will not be a typical summer shutdown in 2020, as there traditionally has been.
According to a report by Automotive News, most of General Motors’ production facilities will remain open during the weeks of June 29 and July 6. Originally, the plants would have closed during that time period for a scheduled break. Ford on the other hand is slated to have a week long summer break, in place of the regular two-week stoppage in most of their facilities. According to a Ford memo released by one UAW local, the Chicago Assembly, Louisville Assembly and Kentucky Truck plants will close during the week of June 29, while Flat Rock Assembly will go offline for the week of August 3. The remaining Ford plants will have a two-week break at some point between late June and mid-October.
By shortening or eliminating these summer break periods, the automakers are making it clear that they intend to salvage whatever they can from 2020. Both GM and Ford have experienced delays related to key products in their portfolios, including the C8 Corvette, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, the Ford Bronco and the upcoming 2021 F-150. Getting these vehicles built as soon as possible is the best thing the automakers can do for their bottom line. That being said, there are plenty of factors that could derail this headstrong approach.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford sent home second shift workers at the Dearborn Truck plant last week due to a shortage of F-150 seats. The Blue Oval refused to comment about the supplier issue, but did note that an unrelated issue forced a closure in Kansas City as well. GM is familiar with this problem as well, with a number of Corvette options being removed from the 2020 order books due to supply chain issues. The automakers can keep the plants open as long as they want, but it is hard to build cars without the necessary parts.